The Los Angeles Rams are leaving Seattle with a big divisional win on Thursday Night Football after down the Seahawks 26-17. LA moves to 4-1 through the first quarter of the season, while the NFC West divisional rival Seahawks move to 2-3.
Even with Seattle signal-caller Russel Wilson leaving the game in the second half due to injury, this was a fairly close contest within the final two minutes. Tensions were high on Thursday night, and there were a number of individual performances that carried the Rams when it mattered the most.
Robert Woods, WR
Cooper Kupp was the Rams primary wide receiver in terms of target share during the first four games. It certainly seemed Robert Woods was due for a big game, and that it could just be a matter of time before Bobby Trees showed up in a big way.
Well - it happened on Thursday night.
Woods was targeted 14 times, catching 12 passed for 150 yards (long of 25). The ball seemed to always find Woods when the Rams needed a play, as the trusted receiver helped convert multiple third down opportunities and keep the offense on track.
It’s good to see Woods featured in the team’s offense after an unusually slow start to the year for him.
Robert Woods this season— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 8, 2021
HE’S BACK pic.twitter.com/Cw9VNr3PRg
Darrell Henderson & Sony Michel, RB
Los Angeles leaned heavily on the ground game after Sean McVay all but abandoned the running attack last week against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Seahawks front seven is not as stout against the run as other units the Rams have faced this year, and the offensive line created ample space for Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel to chew up yardage on the ground.
Henderson carried the rock 17 times for 82 yards (4.8 average) and a touchdown. The Rams starting runner also hauled in 1 reception on a single target for 17 yards.
Michel had 11 attempts for 37 yards (3.4 average) against Seattle and caught 1 pass for 8 yards. This outing was a positive development for the running back, especially coming off Week 4 where he had a costly fumble.
Terrell Lewis, OLB
No Rams were able to fill the void left by Justin Hollins’ injury in Week 4 against the Cardinals, but second-year pass rusher Terrell Lewis asserted himself against Seattle. Lewis consistently made plays against the run and as a pass rusher on Thursday night, and the promising player recorded a deep sack against Russell Wilson that essentially ended a Seattle possession.
A lingering knee issue prevents the Rams from giving Lewis a heavy workload, but he has been impressive in recent weeks in the time that he is on the field.
Jamir Jones, Jr., OLB
LA claimed Jamir Jones, Jr. off waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers ahead of the Week 4 matchup against Arizona. This was his first appearance in a Rams uniform, and the recently acquired outside linebacker blocked a punt. Craziness ensued after, but Jones deserves credit for being able to contribute on special teams while he learns the ropes on the Rams defense.
Aquinas grad Jamir Jones with a great way to debut with his new team the #Rams. A blocked punt against Seattle (the punter illegally tried to kick it again). @TheJJammer @AQ_football @NDFootball pic.twitter.com/sezFFTTZvN— Mike Catalana (@MikeCatalana) October 8, 2021
Nick Scott, DB
The Rams drafted Nick Scott in 2019 with the intent of turning Scott into a special teams ace. The defensive back took on a larger role on defense towards the end of the 2020 season, and his involvement has continued so far in 2021.
Scott sealed the game late in the fourth quarter by intercepting the Seahawks backup quarterback Geno Smith. He threw a little salt on the wound after the game, which is something that has become a tradition when these two teams match up:
Matt Gay, K
Los Angeles has certainly had worse performances from kickers in games over the last couple of seasons, but that does not excuse Matt Gay from his poor outing on Thursday night. Gay missed an extra point and two of his kickoffs landed out of bounds - giving the Seahawks the opportunity to start a couple of drives at their own 40-yard line.
Matthew Stafford, QB
A box score stat line of 25/37 for 365 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception does not normally earn you a spot on the “losers” list, but this is not a normal year and expectations for Matthew Stafford are not at a normal level.
The Rams brought Stafford in to be a significant upgrade over Jared Goff and elevate the offense; however, over the last two weeks Stafford seems to be the piece that is holding the LA offense from peak performance.
Now, with that said, the Rams signal caller did appear to bang his hand and possibly injure his index finger in the first half; however, both he and McVay downplayed the injury and the impact it might have had on Stafford’s performance Thursday night.
McVay says he does not have an update on Darious Williams (ankle). He says he was aware of an issue with Matthew Stafford’s finger but couldn’t expand much on it. Adds (upon question) that he didn’t believe there were any other issues entering the game (asked bc missed throws).— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 8, 2021
The Rams only scored three points in the first have against a porous Seattle defense, but there was more for the taking if Stafford had performed up to the level he displayed during the first three weeks of the season.
Robert “Scooter” Rochell, CB
David Long, Jr. had a rough outing last week against the Cardinals and spent most of the Week 5 matchup on the sidelines. Darious Williams suffered an ankle injury late in the game and Long had to come in, but for the most part rookie Robert Rochell handled the third cornerback duties against the Seahawks.
There were some promising moments, but there are also two tough plays that stick out more:
1 - In the first quarter Rochell was beat deep by Seattle receiver Tyler Lockett. The rookie tacked Lockett to draw a flag for defensive pass interference, but he likely also prevented a touchdown by doing so.
2 - DK Metcalf scored his second touchdown reception over Rochell. The rookie corner seemed to be in good coverage initially, but stopped to find the ball as it was sailing over his head.
The Rams will need to be able to rely on either Rochell or Long down the stretch in order to maximize the impact of star corner Jalen Ramsey. The injury to Williams complicates things, but it’s too early to tell if he will miss much time.
One positive outcome from Thursday night games is rest for players and a mini-bye week. The Rams will be traveling cross-country to New York to take on the Giants in Week 6, so they may need all the rest they can get.